Sunday, July 31, 2011

Beer and a book in the garden.

It was a little overcast today in Cardiff but after Faye and David went home, I settled on the bench in our garden with my book and another beer. The pages turned and when I reached the end of another chapter, I paused for thought.

Yesterday afternoon when we came back from the carvery, Gail, mother and I sat in the conservatory whilst dad sat on his own in our garden drinking my beer and reading his newspaper. The conversation flowed very freely between us in the conservatory but dad stayed out on his own, looking very content.

This afternoon the answer struck me as I sat on the bench, enjoying my beer, book and the garden. Mam and Dad live in a flat which is part of a sheltered housing scheme. They have access to a communal garden but the problem is that residents are getting locked outside if the people sat in the lounge complain of a draught and close and lock the patio door. Dad can enjoy our garden and not get locked out!

Dad must have thought how lucky I am to have my own private garden and he was going to make the most of it. Enjoying my beer and book in our garden this afternoon I can understand why dad was so reluctant to move and join in with the conversation!

The freedom to enjoy a beer and a book in your own private garden is a good one. Although some people do like to restrict freedoms and not just drinking beer in private gardens. Something as humble as a mouthwash can be forbidden...

This week attached to our pay slips down on the farm was this notice...

Notice to [redacted] staff

All [redacted] staff have received training on the Alcolock system.

As of today any drivers that use a mouthwash and blow over a zero reading will face disciplinary action.

HR Manager

...Well Stephanie, no driver has ever received training on the Alcolock system. All we were given was a mouthpiece and left to our own common sense to see if we could get a Volvo B9R to start. No instructions were given, we just gave it a go and the rest is history. Being able to install and run a Belkin N150 Enhanced Wireless Router
made the Alcolock system not a problem although most drivers do encounter an "Invalid Specimen 3" error and simply have another go! So the rumour has it that Graham used a mouthwash before blowing into the Alcolock and the coach would not start in Bradford. That is a shame but the fault is yours for treating us like children and not providing training for your device. You like to impress upon us the value of presentation to the passengers and that would include oral hygiene. But you have scored an own goal with your Alcolock system and a ban on mouthwash. What about our human rights in using a dental cleaning product? Disciplinary action or dragon breath, the choice is yours!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

All change at The Culverhouse .

The Culverhouse at Cowbridge Road West, Cardiff, CF5 5TF has undergone a complete transformation and has now reopened as a carvery pub. The Culverhouse is still owned by Brains but it is their first dedicated carvery pub. It opened last Monday and we went along today to try it out for our first time.

First impressions are good because there is disabled parking and a good ramp for Gail to crawl up with her walking stick to the front door. The builders have done a lot of work to The Culverhouse and the insides have been completely changed. Everything looks bright, new and fresh.

The menu cards were a welcome surprise because of their GF listings. GF is the code for Gluten Free. Carvery meals are gluten free when served without Yorkshire pudding and stuffing. Gluten free gravy is available on request, which is great for my mother as she has a gluten free diet and pub meals can be a problem for her.

I fancied a change today and opted for the Homemade turkey & ham pie. You help yourself to vegetables from the carvery counter in the same as-much-as-you-like fashion as with the carved cooked meats. I believe that a pie is a food that is encased in pastry and will stand up on it's own. I am not alone in this belief, a pie is only a pie if it can stand up without the filling bursting out. The Homemade turkey & ham pie at The Culverhouse is not what I would call a pie! This meal is bowl of turkey and ham casserole with a puff pastry lid. So, I took off the puff pastry lid and poured the turkey and ham casserole onto my plate with the pastry sitting on my vegetables. I then tucked in and thoroughly enjoyed my meal. I am not a fan of gravy and there was not a drop on my plate. What was so wonderful was the white sauce that was part of the pie filling, also known as turkey and ham casserole. This special white sauce was simply delicious and worked really well with the turkey and ham. Although I would not class this meal as a True Pie - what I had was simply great. I was so impressed by this Homemade turkey & ham pie that I will recommend it to everyone. That is the meal that I will go for next time we visit The Culverhouse.

Well done to Brains for a good refurbishment to this pub which is very close to our home. Well done to the chef for making such a lovely Homemade turkey & ham pie. Well done to management for having a gluten free menu to stop my mother from whinging "what can I have, I'm gluten free" which was becoming a pain.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Belkin to the rescue .

Anybody wondered why I have not posted on natural yogurt since last Thursday? Well, I was busy with other things and sat I down at this computer on Wednesday night, ready to write on this blog. Trouble was that I could not gain an internet connection. I checked everything and then telephoned talk talk, our internet service provider. Rather than bore everyone with a long story, our Huawei HG520b wireless router had broken. This was the router given to us by talk talk in February 2010 when I posted about the issue on this blog.

Now, just under 18 months of service out of an Huawei HG520b wireless router is rather a poor show, even though we did not pay for it.

Gail and I had a chat about the lack of internet access. We both agreed that we would rather invest in a new wireless broadband router that we could use straight away than wait for talk talk to send us a new router. Having our own router means that we can be on-line whilst waiting for the new one. Then we will have a spare wireless broadband router to fall back on, when the talk talk supplied router fails. We were both very frustrated at not having internet access and having a spare router secures our drug of choice.

So I bit the bullet tonight and went out and purchased a Belkin N150 Enhanced Wireless Router . I plugged it in, entered our username and password - Stephen is now back on-line.

We now have a brand new router that should give us good service, internet access before our new talk talk router is delivered and a back up that we can switch over to in minutes when the Chinese hardware fails! Plus there will be no more wondering if the connection failure is our end or the telephone exchange end. No more trying everything, telephoning the call centre to speak to a guy in India, going through monotonous procedures for an engineer to ring back another day. Whenever in future our internet connection fails, I will simply plug in our Belkin N150 Enhanced Wireless Router . If the Belkin does not restore our internet connection then I know it is a telephone exchange fault. If the Belkin does restore our broadband then I will telephone talk talk, say "Namaste" to the guy in India and request another new router. I wonder how long our third talk talk router will last?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Length really matters!

People can be very lazy with their internet passwords, some are easy to guess and others computers can crack in a relatively short time. The trick is to have a long password made up of a string of things that are easy for only you to remember. If you are wondering how secure is my password? , then go to this website for a demonstration. At the moment I am using an 10 character password which would take a computer 6 days to crack. If I change my password to 13 characters, it would take a computer about 314 years to crack. So, length really matters and not just in the bedroom!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Coach House .

Gail and I had a lovely pub lunch yesterday at The Coach House, Old St Mellons, Cardiff. They do a two meals for £10 special menu, which offers something for everybody. The range you generally get on set price menus is normally rather limited but The Coach House menu offers 24 different meals.

I chose the Beef Chilli and Gail went for the Fish and Chips. We were both very pleased with the generous portions on both plates. Most pubs use frozen chips for their meals and this tends to put Gail off a little. The Coach House is different and uses hand cut chips that appear to have been fried in beef fat, which give them that gorgeous taste that is the trademark of Harry Ramsden's.

My Beef Chilli was simply delicious, the quality and taste simply blew me away. This was the best Beef Chilli I have ever had in a pub and it is one of my favourite dishes although sadly Gail does not cook it at home. The Beef Chilli is offered in that great Cardiff tradition of "Half and Half" where you have half a portion of rice and half a portion of chips, giving you the best of both worlds and not having to choose. Added to the rice and chips was a delicious salad and a pot of sour cream. This was a lovely meal and very good value for money.

Quite often when you discover a pub with good food, it is let down with lousy beer. This is not the case with The Coach House where I had the choice of Old Speckled Hen or Wadworth's 6X . The 6X was lovely and brought back many happy memories of living in Bristol for 20 years. A good meal, a good pint and a good woman to dine with, what more could I want? I think I am in love with all three!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Show Me The Funny .

I watched the first episode of Show Me The Funny last night on ITV1 television. 10 comedians with varying levels of experience as they battle it out to win the ultimate prize in British comedy: £100,000, a multi-date UK tour throughout September, and their very own DVD at Christmas. Each week, the comics will try to get inspiration for five minutes of material that they will then perform at a gig in an unusual venue before facing the scrutiny of the judges.

So my interest was peaked by an article in a television magazine and I tuned in expecting to be entertained by some new comedians. Well, this programme is rubbish and I shall not be watching the second episode. Show Me The Money is hosted by Jason Manford and what a pain in the backside of a presenter Jason certainly is! If I was a judge on this programme, I would have voted off Jason Manford rather than a contestant. Jason is one patronising, smug git of a presenter, enough to make milk curdle.

The programme itself was also a waste of time. Most of the show comprised the comedians going around Liverpool looking for inspiration for their 5 minutes of stand-up. Did we see these stand-up routines? No, we did not view the full 5 minutes of audition, only a few snips. What was billed as 5 minutes of new stand-up material that had been written within the last 24 hours was reduced to a couple of sound-bites.

What the producers should have done was to have dumped Jason Manford, lost the footage of the comedians going around Liverpool and broadcast the full 5 minutes of stand-up performed by each comedian. Then the judges could have summed up and declared the loser who would not appear next week.

The way Show Me The Funny has been produced just leaves the viewer feeling cheated. It is not a lot to ask for each comedian to write 5 minutes of fresh, new material and deliver within 24 hours. The viewer should then be able to watch the full version of their efforts and make up their own mind.

Watching the brief sound-bites from the comedians I have to agree that the judges were right in dismissing Ignacio Lopez , as he was the weakest of all the comedians except Jason Manford. I will not wave my Cardiff flag and support Ignacio Lopez as he claims to be half-Welsh. Ignacio was clearly half-funny and Show Me The Funny is a full-flop of a television programme. Show me the television remote control and ZAP! that awful Jason Manford from my living room.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Candy Bar Girls .

I am enjoying Candy Bar Girls , a brand-new documentary series revealing the lives and loves of the staff and regulars at the world-famous Candy Bar in London, a lesbian night club with a reputation for decadence.

Channel 5 television has taken a risk with the commissioning of this programme. I have watched two episodes now and have enjoyed both of them. There is a broad range of lesbians in this programme and it gets away from the standard dyke stereotype. This programme about diversity shows just what a huge diversity there is within the lesbian community. The girls are quite different from each other, some you will like and others you will be a little wary of. Some girls are show-off's but other are quite ordinary and just like the girl next door. My favourite girl is Alex , who grew up in a tiny, Australian town called Echuca where she says that she was officially the only gay in the village. The Candy Bar was the first lesbian bar that she ever went to and not long after her first social visit, she secured a job at her favourite watering hole. Alex comes across as natural and happy, without any of the pretentiousness glowing from some of the other girls.

The Candy Bar Girls should let viewers deal with any homophobia they may hold. There is nothing to be frightened about in the Lesbian lifestyle, it is just girls enjoying the full company of other girls. Some people are uncomfortable with lesbians but they do not bite. I enjoyed the glimpse that Candy Bar Girls gives you into another world.

I think Candy Bar Girls should be a hit, if only viewers let go of their prejudices. Gail is not too happy with the programme and finds it a challenge to relate to, even though one of her niece's is a lesbian. I just think it is fun to see a wide range of lesbians having fun and enjoying life rather than living in the closet. I am pleased that Channel 5 have taken a gamble and embraced the diversity of our country in the 21st Century.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Pushing the rules on religious headgear .

Down on the farm, Jason will not allow drivers to wear baseball caps. If one of his drivers was a Sikh, then that driver would be allowed to wear his turban for religious reasons and Jason could do nothing about it. This made me wonder if baseball caps could be adopted as Atheist headgear.

An Austrian atheist has won the right to be shown on his driving-licence photo wearing a pasta strainer as "religious headgear". Niko Alm first applied for the licence three years ago after reading that headgear was allowed in official pictures only for confessional reasons.

Mr Alm said the sieve was a requirement of his religion, pastafarianism. A self-confessed atheist, Mr Alm says he belongs to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, a light-hearted, US-based faith whose members call themselves pastafarians.

I do not like pasta but I am an Atheist and I do like wearing a baseball cap whilst driving. I wonder...the Church of Bio Yogurts?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Are you drinking enough?

Bottles of mineral water are now so ubiquitous that health-conscious people cannot make even a short journey without one. Yet the warnings about maintaining fluid levels are "not only nonsense, but thoroughly debunked nonsense", Margaret McCartney, a general practitioner in Glasgow, said.

Official advice issued by the NHS says that people should "try to drink about six to eight glasses of water (or other fluids) a day to prevent dehydration". Many schools also require pupils to bring a water bottle to school. But Dr McCartney said there is no high-quality evidence to support these claims, which are repeated by bottled-water companies to boost their sales.

The idea that we are all short of water is thought to derive from a 1945 recommendation that adults should consume 2.5l of water daily, 1ml for every calorie consumed, though this advice has only caught on in the last decade. But the crucial part of the recommendation is usually ignored – that "most of this quantity is contained in prepared foods".

Hydration for Health, an initiative aimed at medics to promote the drinking of water, which was created and is sponsored by Danone, the French maker of Evian, Volvic and Badoit bottled waters, says "many people, including children, are not drinking enough". It recommends "1.5 to 2 litres of water daily is the simplest and healthiest hydration advice you can give".

...Well, I think that Dr Margaret McCartney has a point here. People forget how much water they take in by the food they eat. Any campaign run by manufacturers of bottled water should be viewed with suspicion. It does seem daft the number of people you spot carrying bottles of water with them as though they are going for a trek in the jungle rather than to sit in an office. What is this some silly new fashion code? Transport workers must wear high visibility waist coats and office workers must carry bottled water - all in the name of safety or is someone having a joke? Whenever I see someone carrying a bottle of water, I always wonder, how far are they going? This seems as silly as people taking vitamin pills. Just eat your food and get on with your life. Stop being such a sissy, there is no need for this bottled water carrying. And those people who sip, sip, sip their bottled water, taking about 2 hours to drink 500ml - drink like an adult not a sparrow! You are only using your bottled water as a fashion accessory and we have spotted your over-priced bottle of water already, so stop this childish posing.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Secrets of the humble potato are unlocked .

Oh, I do enjoy my food and I do love the humble potato, baked, fried, mashed or roasted. Now an international consortium of research organisations has sequenced the 840 million DNA "base pairs" that make up the 12 chromosomes of the potato genome. It takes 10 to 12 years to breed a new variety of potato, but knowing the genome could cut the time by half and improve the end product by targeting the individual genes responsible for the desired traits, the scientists said.

So, that should help people the world over as our demand for food grows as the global population expands to nine billion in the next 40 years.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Bollards, don't you just hate them?

All around our country you can spot damaged bollards. I used to think these bollards had been damaged by bad lorry drivers crashing into them. But caught on video is the real culprits, you may think that sheep are timid creatures but they have a nasty temper!

Saturday, July 09, 2011

The Distant Echo by Val McDermid .

On a freezing Fife morning four drunken students stumble upon the body of a woman in the snow. Rosie has been raped, stabbed and left for dead in an ancient Pictish cemetery. And the only suspects are the four young men now stained with her blood.

This novel is an enjoyable read that draws you in and makes you wonder. This book has 561 pages and was written in 2003. It is a crime thriller described with a very extensive vocabulary, yet it is so easy to read. The Distant Echo deals with suspicion and how easily mud sticks. This book shows how easy it is to believe that someone is up to no good and to think badly of them. As the tale moves on, you become suspicious of all the students and new events appear to back this up. Your suspicion grows as each character has done things that make them a suspect. You then begin to wonder if one of the students did kill Rosie Duff.

The plot of The Distant Echo is very involved and well developed. You do not know which way this story is going to pan out. Val McDermid teases the reader by adding loads of information that makes sense, red herrings that lead you up the wrong path.

The meaning of the title "The Distant Echo" is explained on page 411...

He would never be able to look in the mirror and see an echo of his mother's features. He would never be aware of those strange congruences that happen in families, when a child's reactions replicate those of it's parents. He was adrift in a world without connections. The only real family he had still didn't want him.

...The Distant Echo is set in St. Andrews , a university town and former royal burgh on the east coast of Fife in Scotland. It is not to be confused with Melksham , a medium-sized English town, lying on the River Avon in the county of Wiltshire.

The pace of this novel is good and the ending is okay and not obvious. I will vote this book 5 stars on Good Reads because I can't fault it. No wonder Val McDermid has won so many awards for her novels as her books are a joy and so easy to read.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Sirens .

I have now watched the first two episodes of Sirens, a British comedy-drama about an Ambulance Service broadcast on Channel 4. It was first screened on Monday 27 June 2011.
The series is based on the book Blood, Sweat & Tea by Brian Kellett. The series is filmed predominantly in Leeds with some filmed in the surrounding areas.

The first episode was okay but not brilliant. I hoped it would improve and the comedy become sharper and more adult. I am a fan of workplace dramas and comedies. I thoroughly enjoyed another health care related workplace comedy-drama called Getting On , which was broadcast on BBC Four.

These two television programmes are poles apart. Getting On was great, the humour spot on and it was a wonderful piece of satire that ridiculed management big time. Jo Brand gained the British Comedy Award 2011 Best TV Comedy Actress and a BAFTA Best Female Performance in a Comedy Role for her part in Getting On.

Sirens is simply lacking and the second episode was worse than the first. Sirens showed promise but did not live up to it. It was mildly amusing in a couple of places but was not funny. The programme lasts for an hour and it does not pass the test of time. The story and humour is shallow, giving the impression that it was stretched to the hour.

Okay, it was hard to equal the excellent Getting On but Sirens is not on the same planet! Sirens does not cut it and there are far better programmes on television. So, I gave Sirens two goes but it will not get a third. I will not watch another episode of Sirens and I will be very surprised if it is commissioned for a second series. Channel Four do take risks with television programmes but they made a big mistake with Sirens.

Monday, July 04, 2011

End of the picnics.

Ah, it was good while it lasted but the leisurely picnics will end from Monday 11th July. Down at the farm today, Stewart gave me a new list of duties to start next Monday. Our lovely leisurely rest breaks in London will come to an end. It was great being able to park the coach and walk to any one of the London parks for a lengthy rest break. Sitting there in the open air, among the many tourists as you ate your lunch and read your Kindle. Those were lovely refreshing rest breaks which were a perk of the job and gave you a spring in your step as you walked barefoot through the parks. Even if you hit severe delays on the way up to London, because you had a decent rest break built into the duty, you were always able to depart from London on time.

Now the Nationwide Company has decided to rearrange their diagrams and all coaches coming up from Cardiff are having a quick turn-around in London Victoria Coach Station. There are a lot of timetable alterations which do not affect the drivers that much. What affects the drivers is the loss of those leisurely rest breaks and on many duties we will be down to the bare legal minimum of 45 minutes. The other duties will be down to 60 minutes rest before driving for another 4 hours to 4 hours 30 minutes.

So the leisurely picnics in London parks have gone but as normal the Nationwide Company has not thought this through. They believe that if you publish a timetable with unrealistic running times, it will work like clock-work, because it looks right on paper! But in the real world our journeys take a lot longer than advertised. The result of this is that the coach arrives into London late, the driver picks up the litter that the ignorant passengers have dropped, then he starts his bare legal minimum rest break of 45 minutes. The advertised Departure time has come and gone, with the passengers still waiting. The driver finishes his break, loads the coach and departs the station late. The passengers are unhappy because they may have stared at that coach for 45 minutes before they were allowed to board. So much for customer service. What were reliable departure times will become a lottery. This brings back memories of the mid 1980's working the Bristol to London services for the Nationwide Company. Whenever you pulled onto London Victoria Coach Station, Andy would bellow at you "What time are you going?", as the service always had an insufficient turn around time in London. Things have not changed much in the last 30 years working under contract to the Nationwide Company.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Taken: The Milly Dowler Story .

Last Thursday night I saw the BBC One television programme called Taken: The Milly Dowler Story. Following the conviction of serial killer, Levi Bellfield, for the abduction and murder of 13-year-old Milly Dowler in 2002, this Crimewatch special reveals the inside story of how he was finally brought to justice.

I enjoy reading crime thriller novels and have taken an interest in the search for Milly's killer. This BBC One Crimewatch special was a very good programme that allowed the viewer the opportunity to bring a closure to this dreadful tale. The programme covered a long of ground in the search and conviction of Milly's killer. I think the BBC did a really good job in making this difficult programme, although Terence Blacker does ask some awkward questions about it. At the end of the programme the viewer is left in doubt that Levi Bellfield is an evil monster who was guilty of taking and killing Milly Dowler.

That was Thursday night and I went to bed confident that justice had been done, confident that the jury reached the right verdict and glad that Milly's killer had been caught. Then the nagging started - it was a strange case with no forensic evidence against Levi Bellfield. All the evidence against Bellfield was circumstantial. Okay, he is a very dangerous and violent man. He was already serving a custodial sentence for murder. Watching the programme I was convinced that the Police had brought to justice the right man. All the circumstantial evidence pointed towards Bellfield and the jury convicted him of taking and killing Milly Dowler.

The days rolled on and the nagging thoughts continued in my brain. Walking our pet dog this morning I was still thinking about Levi Bellfield. I still think that Bellfield is an evil monster, a very dangerous and violent man who was capable of killing Milly Dowler.

However, Levi Bellfield was already serving a life sentence for murder. The terms of his sentence were that he would never be released from prison and he would die in jail. Bellfield refused to help in the Police investigation and simply replied "no comment" in interviews. Bellfield did not enter the witness box at his trial. Bellfield is clearly an evil monster.

What if? That is what is bugging me, the what if question. Levi Bellfield knows two things, that he will die in prison and whether or not he killed Milly Dowler. Because Levi Bellfield is a dangerous criminal with nothing more to lose and would feel rather gutted at the prospect of dying in jail, maybe being convicted of Milly's murder, the real killer could walk free. This would be Bellfield's way of getting revenge on a justice system that has taken away his freedom. If Bellfield had pleaded guilty, everyone would have had an easier time. By pleading not guilty and refusing to answer, Bellfield has heightened his feeling of revenge on a justice system that has condemned his to death in prison.

Hopefully I am wrong in this possibility that Levi Bellfield did not kill Milly Dowler and that the real killer has walked away free. Trouble is that evil men do very wicked things including perverting the course of justice. The Police wanted a conviction and they have made mistakes in the past. Levi Bellfield knows for sure but he will take his secret to the grave leaving us wondering if the killer is walking around your corner.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Sitting on the patio.

Since our conservatory has been built our garden has been a little neglected. Our collection of patio slabs were just sitting on top of the ground, here and there. This was a work-around to stop soil erosion and Barney bringing muck into our home. The plan was to lay these patio slabs properly.

Gail has a walking disability and was frightened of the ground because it was not flat. I am like a mountain goat and I can walk anywhere, so it was not a problem for me. Eventually we decided to bite the bullet and from a friend's recommendation, we hired in a guy called Kenny. Gail wanted the garden to be flattened from fence to fence down by the laundry post and patio slabs laid from there up to her kitchen window. This was a big job which would require some special tools I did not have and the moving of a fair amount of earth. Gail forbid me from having a go myself and said I should stick to driving coaches.

Kenny does not drive coaches but is a self employed brick layer. As well as regular brick laying, Kenny does a lot of patio's including our friend's, who recommended Kenny to us. We had a look at the patio that Kenny made for Linda and could see the quality of his work. Linda's garden now looks the business with a nice clean and tidy finish to her paving.

Kenny finished our patio last Friday and we are really proud of it! It was a real joy to sit out there tonight, having a good beer and reading a book. Kenny did not take the piss and reckon that we needed to have all new slabs, which would have increased the cost. Kenny measured out the area we wanted paved, measured our existing range of very different patio slabs from previous projects and declared that we needed just 10 new patio slabs to complete the job.

Kenny set to work and dug a trench to support a low retaining brick wall. Kenny then broke up the earth and flattened it across our garden, from the kitchen window down to his row of bricks. Then Kenny laid the base, followed by the footing and then the slabs. Kenny did not lay the slabs just to fill the space but laid them to make a statement out of the many different shapes, sizes and styles. This looks lovely and a lot of thought has gone into it. There is a maturity to our patio that makes it look established rather than new. The fit and finish is tight, tidy and new though! This new patio is higher than our old patio sections and because Gail is not a mountain goat, Kenny made a ramp out of a slab from our kitchen path, so that she could crawl up with her walking stick.

We are very happy with our finished patio and have a garden to be proud of. Gail has a usable garden area because she is sure-footed and should not fall over. I am very pleased at what we have got for our money, Kenny was not being greedy but realistic and did not talk the job up. My dad loves sitting on all the different chairs as he smokes his pipe and drinks my beer.

Thank you Kenny, if you ever do a search on the internet!

Friday, July 01, 2011

The Bourne Ultimatum .

The Bourne ultimatum: The email that went viral

From: Carolyn Bourne

To: Heidi Withers

Subject: Your lack of manners

Here are a few examples of your lack of manners:

* When you are a guest in another's house, you do not declare what you will and will not eat, unless you are positively allergic to something

* You do not remark that you do not have enough food

* You do not start before everyone else

* You do not take additional helpings without being invited to by your host

* When a guest in another's house, you do not lie in bed until late morning in households that rise early; you fall in line with house norms

* You should never ever insult the family you are about to join at any time and most definitely not in public. I gather you passed this off as a joke but the reaction in the pub was one of shock, not laughter

* You regularly draw attention to yourself. Perhaps you should ask yourself why

* No one gets married in a castle unless they own it. It is brash, celebrity-style behaviour

* I understand your parents are unable to contribute very much towards the cost of your wedding. (There is nothing wrong with that except that convention is such that one might presume they would have saved over the years for their daughters' marriages.) If this is the case, it would be most ladylike and gracious to lower your sights and have a modest wedding as befits both your incomes.

* One could be accused of thinking that Heidi Withers must be patting herself on the back for having caught a most eligible young man. I pity Freddie

...So, this email went viral and caused quite a storm! . Well I agree with Victoria Summerley that in any civilised household, you eat what is put in front of you. You wait until everyone else is served before you pick up your knife and fork. If you don't like the food, you say politely that you've had enough, thank you, or that you're not very hungry. These are not some sort of bonkers, eccentric rules thought up by Mrs Bourne expressly to torture her son's fiancée. They constitute normal, polite behaviour.

I think that Carolyn Bourne was right to send the email and set up some ground rules, so that this new family can get off to a good start rather than store up problems for the future. Heidi Withers needed to be told a thing or two, she is not some fairy tale princess but a girl who has landed on her feet! It is good to read that Carolyn has the maturity and guts to stand up to Heidi. So many young people these days just want, want, want - with no consideration for others or a sense of fair play. Well done Carolyn for putting her foot down and putting this girl in her place.

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